Agile or Waterfall?

July 31, 2011
By: Bill Murray

You have to be asking what, why, and who cares?

ABC Financial is my billing company, marketing partner, and in most cases my software provider, why are they talking to me about agile or waterfall? And what does one have to do with the other. In the world of software development there are many methodologies for developing software, just like there are many methodologies to run your business. Business wise, clients first, employees first, sales first, net profit first, expense driven, top line driven, team, individual… the list for running your business is immense and allows for personal leadership and business culture to lead you to the best choice.

Software development is the same way. Waterfall at one end requires a lot of upfront documentation. Then once developers start developing, you wait for delivery. Agile is very little documentation, although it does have user stories, and provides a framework to start development. It is iterative though, meaning get feedback, build, test, get feedback, build… this iterative process is how a great coach runs a team. Set goals, test, give feedback… and on and on. Just like great fitness trainers. So with ABC’s culture, clients, and needs an agile development methodology leads to better software. Not always at the speed people think it should be delivered, but at the speed that over 3000 club owners can build their business in the best way possible, while staying true to their business culture. How many changes, enhancements, and requests to the software does ABC receive monthly? About 50! Of those 50 a few will make sense for all our users, and the rest will be reconsidered down the road.